Inland Notebook: Damien has tall order at No. 2 Vista Murrieta; Charter Oak getting healthy

By Aram Tolegian Staff Writer
Try telling Damien High School things could have been worse as the Spartans prepare for the first round of the CIF-SS Inland Division football playoffs and you’re likely to get a rude reception. Damien drew a road game against No. 2-seeded Vista Murrieta, which is technically 5-5, but 10-0 on the field. Vista Murrieta had to forfeit five wins earlier this season. Still, the Spartans avoided top-seeded Corona Centennial (9-1) and No. 3 seed Upland (10-0). (To continue click thread)

But Damien coach Greg Gano doesn’t think his team got off easy.

“They’ve got some people over there,” Gano said of Vista Murrieta. “One kid is going to Oregon. Another kid is going to any place he wants to. They’ve got a good team. I don’t think we match up, but we’re going to give them heck. I’m not saying we can’t play with them because I think we have just as much speed as they do.”

Damien finished 7-3 and third in the Sierra League. The Spartans needed a win over Ayala on Thursday to clinch third place in league. Given how the Sierra League stacks up to the rest of the Inland Division, its third-place team is usually given a very difficult task in the first round.

“I don’t think we were the worst third-place team (in the division),” Gano said. “It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t cry. We finished third so we knew we’d get thrown to somebody.”

No matter how Damien does on Friday, the Spartans showed significant improvement
compared to last season. Damien won one more game in the regular season than it did last year, turned the tables on a JSerra team that routed the Spartans 42-7 last year and gave Bishop Amat a much tougher game.

Just how far all that improvement takes the Spartans in the Inland playoffs remains to be seen. Starting a sophomore quarterback on the road will not make things easy.

“We have to get some breaks and we have to really play four quarters as good as we have all year,” Gano said. “We were within one coaching mistake of being where Chino Hills is (playing Rancho Cucamonga). But you finish second and you get Rancho, what is that? Rancho is a very good team.”

Chargers getting healthy
Charter Oak quarterback Travis Santiago’s sprained ankle continues to improve and Chargers coach Lou Farrar said there’s no doubt the senior standout will play Friday against Santiago of Corona.

Santiago sprained his ankle last week in a fluke accident before practice, but was able to play in the Chargers’ 38-7 win over Chino Hills in the Sierra League championship game.

Santiago had limited movement against Chino Hills and was in considerable pain after the game, but Farrar expects him to have more mobility on Friday.

“He’s much improved,” Farrar said. “I saw him a little bit at our first film meeting (Monday) at lunch and he was walking without any crutches. He still has to go to treatment this week, but his coloration is a lot better.”

Chargers running back Kurt Scoby, who is also nursing a sprained ankle, is improving as well. Scoby played well Thursday against Chino Hills and is nearing a return to full strength.

Charter Oak definitely needs to have all hands on deck this week when it seeks its first Inland Division playoff win. Charter Oak has never been in such a division, so simply winning a playoff game against a much larger school would be a feather in the program’s cap.

A good sign for the Chargers is that Chino Hills beat Santiago in Week 2 of the season, and the Chargers beat Chino Hills last week. But after seeing film of Santiago, Farrar says that comparative score means little.

“It’s too early in the season,” Farrar said. “You’re talking the difference between Week 2 and Week 11. So much can happen in that time.”

“And they didn’t have their running back and linebacker in that game (against Chino Hills). You have to throw out the early games and just concentrate on what they did later in the season.”

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  • no-step

    Damien has improved?

    As I recall, Morrison won the league championship in his third year at Damien. So, where’s the improvement?

  • footballfan

    Hey Lou and staff, who is hurting this week? who is not gonna play due to a freak injury? Come on its Tuesday already give us some excuse already…


    are we excused too? ,” Farrar said. “You’re talking the difference between Week 2 and Week 11. So much can happen in that time.”

    “And they didn’t have their running back and linebacker in that game (against Chino Hills).

    So what he is saying is that without your starting running back the loss or win doesnt matter?

  • Chino Hills fan

    taking jabs: what he is saying is he gives Chino Hills no credit for beating Corona Santiago because it was early in the season aannd they didnt have their running back. LMFAO Bottom line at the half it was 10-7 after the half CO coaches made adjustments and CH didnt yeas we were missing our running back but we should of changed our game plan and the team that made the halftime adjustments won the game! Good luck to all 3 sierra teams lets go do some damage!!

  • Tired of Lou


    I heard your comments on the prep extra live playoff pairing show. Do you really expect us to believe that Santiago has been breaking down tape of you for 2 weeks? That the coach told you he has 8 of your games? Why don’t you for once tell us you have a good team and you are going to compete your butts off. The excuses are older than you are.

    Let me give you some insight. In order for Santiago to know that they were going to play you in the first round they would have had to know:
    1. Rancho would win its last two games one of which was against there rival Los Osos. Not a gimmy.
    2. You would have to beat Chino Hills. They were the reigning league champion, undefeated in league and a team that beat them earlier in the year. Not a gimmy.
    3. They would have to realize that Rev would beat a 9-0 Yucaipa team at there place. Yucaipa beat Miller and Redlands worse then Rev did. Not a gimmy.
    4. Santiago would have to overlook there last two opponents by preparing for you. Not going to happen.
    5. Oh and by the way, where are they getting this video? If by small chance they have it they probably got it from the coaches in your league. The only reason they would sell you out because they are tired of playing the SGV all star team known as Charter Oak. Compete with you own players and people wouldn’t hate on you as much. Lose for a couple of years, get back in the Mid Valley and play against teams your size.

    And stop complaining about the enrollment of your school. All you have to do is add up the enrollment of Duarte, South Hills and Muir with yours and you are equal to Santiago.

    I am not hating on Charter Oak, I have seen them play and think they have a great team and a good chance. I am just so tired of hearing Lou with his poor is me attitude. I hope you are not telling your players this stuff. If you are this is probably why they couldn’t beat Rancho; because you didn’t make them believe they could!

  • TeachDGame

    @No-Step —- listen, to you and all the Morrison lovers and Gano haters, let me set one thing straight for the last time. Are we all happy with everything, NO. But one thing is for sure, the Current Damien Rosters from Varsity to Freshman are FAR BETTER talent wise than the Morrison years. I can personally vouch for at least 80% of the impact players on these rosters and WE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN HERE if Morrison was still the coach. So end it…. Are we going to be League champions (hope so, time will tell). Are we going to win CIF (hope so, time will tell), but Guaran-fricken-tee the current Rosters are 10x better than they would have been if Morrison was still here. Yes, these players and coaches need to get it done, won’t argue that. But quit with the flippin Morrison crap. The Death spiral started during that period and would still be far worse. Bishop Amat, Glendora, Upland and Charter Oak football rosters are missing a few good kids BECAUSE MORRISON IS NOT AT DAMIEN….. so end this CRAP.

  • FredJ

    Big Lou says what he says because he’s a pro, you’ll never see him give opponents Bulletin Board material. He’s too smart for that. He’s like Little Lou (Holtz) — you make not like or believe what he says all the time, but his teams consistently perform and get the job done.

  • OldMan in Chino

    There is no doubt in my mind that Charter Oak is getting better health-wise, that both Santiago and Scoby are healing up. I am fairly new to the ways that Coach Farrar spins the injuries to his players. It looks like Charter Oak is in a can’t lose situation. If they do beat Corona Santiago it was because both Santiago and Scoby recovered enough to be able to play close to full strength, if they do not win it was because Santiago and Scoby were not at full strength and if they were Charter Oak would have won. Once again I respect and admire the efforts of both Santiago and Scoby to play through injuries as well as the rest of their team. I have little respect for a Coach that publicly announces the injuries to his players and then is able to manipulate and spin their performance accordingly. Charter Oak may be the strongest team from the Sierra League this season, but in order to win the respect of the rest of the Inland Division they will need to do better than advancing past the first round. Playing past the second round on a consistent basis is a start. Otherwise their success this season will be viewed as a “flash in the pan”. Good luck to all the teams from the Sierra League.

  • Tired of Lou

    Come on Fred

    This is not about bulletin board material. Its about lying and guys like you believing him.

  • Fred Robledo

    I just explained the gamesmanship that goes on with coaches discussing pre-game matchups, and your response is we/I believe everything they say .. C’mon, the only one hanging on every word is YOU!

  • JMO

    Chino Hills fan,

    Yeah and it was 28-0 second half and good coaching staffs do make a difference. Now why dont you hills fans start concentrating on this weeks game instead of last weeks beat down.

  • Tired of Lou

    This is not gamesmenship. Its just old. When he talks to this paper he is not talking to Santiago, he is talking to his team and us. I don’t hear the coaches of other teams making excuses every week before the game starts to protect their egos!

    I like Ganos comments much better:

    “It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t cry… We have to get some breaks and we have to really play four quarters as good as we have all year… We were within one coaching mistake of being where Chino Hills is…”

    That is a coach owning up to the events of his season, owning up to the fact he has to face a talented opponent and trying to get his team ready to compete, not making excuses and getting ready for doom. All big Lou does is protect his ego in the event of a loss and try to make people believe the only way they can win is because he made it happen in the face of all this adversity.

    My name says it all “TIRED OF LOU!!!”

  • CH Fan

    ELMO: Picture this: Next year your reading the morning paper and it says from our coach “well CO beat us because we didnt have our running back ” yeah sounds lame , right? By the way we have played teams like Rancho before so we know what we are looking at, you on the otherhand are still pretty new to this big boy ball game. If you think you have speed wait until your on the field with Corona Santiago they my friend have had a real schedule of teams played this season and every other. They dont schedule scrub games. Just admit it the Lou media crap is getting old like him!

  • no-step


    You’re speculating and I’m dealing with reality. You are full of “would have” and “could have” and “maybe”. I’m stating fact. And here’s another fact for you. Gano is not a good coach, and is not right for Damien.

  • OldMan in Chino

    To JMO

    My observations were not directed toward Charter Oak’s football team which was clearly the better team when they played Chino Hills. There is no shame in being defeated by a better team. Once again since I am new to the ways of Coach Farrar, I am struck with the awe and respect he is afforded by both the print media and those who follow Charter Oak football. He has earned this level of respect for how well his teams have done in the past. However, past success means little if Charter Oak only gets past the first round. The Inland Division is a division that is among the strongest in the Southern Section with the PAC 5 being the only one stronger. It would be a feather in their cap to go far in it, but the odds are against it. A word to the wise, do not get ahead of yourselves and start envisioning how good that CIF Champion patch will look on your letterman jackets. Earn it first then you can start enjoying it. Once again if you go far you worked hard to get, and if you do not, please do not use you being at less than full strength as an excuse for not being CIF Champs otherwise you will be CIF Chumps and will be viewed as the cry babies of the Inland Division.

  • D-Mo

    Advise for Big Lou and his staff? Keep it to yourself. They don’t need any help, obviously.


    Tired of Lou,

    You must have some affinity towards Big Lou, since all you can do is talk about him. If you dont like what he says dont read it. The news would have never got out about Travis injury. If someone wouldn’t have opened their mouth and leaked the info to Aram! Plus we all knew about Kurts injury because Fred reported it after the Damien game.

    Aram clearly said that he was notified by someone and he called big Lou to confirm.
    WTF do you want Big Lou to LIE?

  • OldMan in Chino

    An open letter to Travis Santiago and Kurt Scoby. The true extent and severity of your injuries are known only to you. The perceived lack of credability of your coach has caused your injuries to be questioned. You two may be all he says you are, that you are the two toughest players he has ever had the pleasure of coaching or you could be convenient excuses for Charter Oak exiting before the Championship round. I am hoping that you two are fully recovered and are experiencing no lingering effects from your injuries. If Charter Oak does not reach the Championship round, remember to give credit to the team that beat you and do not alibi that if only…… things would have been different. Remember the Inland Division is watching you to see if Charter Oak is truly Championship material or if you are cry babies.

  • Tired of Lou

    SGV Football

    Read my statements. I never talked about Charter Oak injuries. That was all the other people tired of Lou. My comments were directed to his statments on the prep extra live playoff pairing show when during his phone interview it took him about 3 seconds to start making excuses. He said the other team had been scouting them for weeks, had all their film, Charter Oak is already behind, and then went into his we are just little C.O. and started about school enrollment. Aram, Fred, Steve and Miguel didn’t even ask him a question!

  • duuuhhh

    Tired of lou,
    There is a new program on the computer this year that is called Hudl, all Santiago had to do was contact one or two teams CO played this year and by one press of the button they have that many games shot over to them genius. The days of exchanging film is over, get a clue.

  • Tired of Lou

    Well obviously Lou is telling the truth. All inland teams are conspiring against the mighty chargers. It is the Charter Oak against the world. Nobody can beat them straight up so all teams have to work together to beat them. I am sure Upland and Centenial are working on a plan right now. We shoud call De La Salle because I am sure they need to get a start on the Chargers for the State game.

    Come on duuhhh, you must be a C.O. assistant coach. I know about hudl. My sons team uses it and he watches video at home. Can Santiago get “digital video” on them of course. Read the comments below and listen to his interview from Sunday. Lous comments are tired and old.

    I like the product he and his staff put on the field. I said that below. Just tired of hearing his excuses.

  • duuuhhh

    Tired of lou,

    It sounds like your the little girl from CH who just got tooled and I mean tooled from a school a little school with 1900 compared to 4000 plusssssss. Rancho is going to work you without ur old “best” player who quit! why did that happen?


    OldMan in Chino,

    I am pretty sure that there is some blog etiquette and you never call out these student athletes from a blog. Please dont try to spin it any other way, you directly called out Travis and Kurt. Thats BS by the way.

    Grow up and get past the point you got spanked. The Sierra league will belong to Charter Oak for the years to come, until you guys decide to boot us from this league too!

    By the way no one from CO has said we will be in the finals this year but thanks for your thoughts on us making it to the semi’s or the finals….
    Tired of lou,

    I suggest you worry about your sons team and who they will be playing in the playoffs, instead of Big Lou and CO Chargers!

    Oh by the way, what school would that be?

  • DP

    Charter Oak has had a pretty good season so far, only losing to highly ranked Rancho Cucamonga (a game CO could have won). And CO is also ranked fairly high (#21 in the Maxpreps Southern Section). But now we start the playoffs, and anything can happen in the playoffs. Charte Oak will probably win in the first round against Santiago HS (although it’s definitely NOT a given). But that will most likely be as far as they go….because after the first round, only the “big boys” are left. (But then again, it’s the playoffs….and anything can happen)! Should be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • AMAT 73

    Old Man in Chino,
    I also take offense to your open letter to the 2 fine young men who battled thru these injuries to get back on the field because of the love of their team and the game. I for one am not questioning the injuries nor do I think anyone else with any common sense is either. Lou’s antics are his and we all know Big Lou loves gamesmanship , so be it . Why you come on here and pose this to these young men is beyond me , and what does what Lou say have anything to do with the performance of these 2 young men . Absolutley nothing that’s what .Look back to your younger days and tell me you never gutted out an injury for the team be it any team you ever played on . Your post has a taste of sour grapes because CO plain just whacked your team plain and simple and you fell for Big Lou’s comments on the injuries , because it sure seemed CH was looking at the game as already being won. Score it 1 for Lou and 0 for CH on the gamesmenship tally .
    tired of Lou,
    Maybe if you tell us who you root for or where your son plays we can a better perspective on your posts and where the basis is ccoming from .Could it be Damien since you do like Gano’s quotes ?????

  • Voice of Reason

    Old Man in Chino, AKA Ignorant, please stop contradicting yourself. You continually imply that both Santiago and Scoby are lying about their injuries, then you wish them well. Why don’t you ask Santiago’s parents to show you his X-rays and then run for the “Hills” before his mom knocks you out! Do us all a favor and drop it. The boys played with injuries and they played hard and with much heart. There, just leave it at that and go back to your rocking chair where you belong.

  • OldMan in Chino

    Wow, I really kicked a hornet’s nest didn’t I.I would never disrespect two athletes or imply that the injuries that Travis and Kurt had were not legitimate. My comment was directed toward the perceived lack of credability of Coach Farrar. I acknowledge that both Travis and Kurt fought through their injuries and for that they deserve all of the accolades given to them. I was also commenting on how Coach Farrar is almost deified by some supporters of Charter Oak Football as well as those from the Tribune. In retrospect my open letter should have been addressed to Coach Farrar and written in such a way as to not cast doubt on how hard these two fine athletes worked in battling through their injuries. So allow me to apologize for any misunderstanding for what I wrote. I sincerely mean it when I say that I wish Charter Oak the best as they enter the play-offs since they are the first place representative for the Sierra League and for them to be prepared to be sorely tested should they get past the first round.

  • dont count damien out!

    Don’t count Damien out just yet.
    I predict an upset. Vista Murietta has an off day and a bad game, Damien plays over their head to meet the challenge and wins. Damien 21 VM 18!!!

    Go Spartans